The McDowell Technical Community College Board of Trustees recently passed a resolution honoring Mr. Ford Miller in recognition of Miller’s 90th birthday in October.
Miller was the founder and owner of Miller Engineering of Marion, a company which for many years was primarily engaged in bridge and road construction throughout North Carolina and the Southeast.
At the board’s October meeting, several members of the board praised Miller for what he had done for the college over the years, but their praise did not stop there. “It’s not just what he has done for us at the college,” said Gary Stroud, Board Chairman, “it’s also what he has done all over the county.”
Mr. Miller’s generosity to the college began when he donated the former Marion Manufacturing office building and adjacent land to McDowell Tech, having purchased the property as part of the larger Marion Manufacturing complex a short time before the donation.
MTCC staff member Michael Lavender and former board member and board chair Matt Smith worked with Miller during discussions which led up to the donation. Smith and Miller had been longtime friends and remain so to this day.
“Miller is an incredibly kind and generous man who has always seemed to look for ways to help others when he can,” said Lavender. “We are fortunate that he has chosen to help the college many times, so that the college, in turn, can help those who are unemployed and underemployed, as well as those wanting to further their education to make a better life for themselves and their family.”
The resolution points out many of the generous and often “behind-the-scenes” things Miller has done in the community and at the college:
- Donation of the Marion Manufacturing Office Building and adjacent land;
- Donated labor, equipment use, and drainage access to adjacent property when the contractor renovating the property for the college ran into major drainage issues that were going unresolved due to right-of-way issues and governmental delays. Miller himself, as well as his employees and family members, did the work themselves at no cost to the college;
- Provided free labor and heavy equipment use to McDowell Tech when a large sinkhole needed to be repaired in a parking lot at the newly named Ford Miller Employment and Training Center on Baldwin Avenue;
- Donated a “work van” to transport students in vocational programs to job sites for workplace training programs;
- Provided demolition services to the college at a reduced cost for removal of a large water tower on the college’s main campus when the college connected to city water and no longer needed the water tower;
- Consistently shown concern for people, businesses and employment in McDowell County in various ways, including offering to pay off a mortgage for a local automobile dealer in an effort to avoid the closure of the county’s only Ford dealership;
- And, has frequently shown generosity to local churches, charities and individuals throughout the county when people are in need.
The resolution concludes, “…this is an appropriate time to remind Mr. Miller and the community how much we appreciate his friendship and service to the college and local community.” It goes on to encourage others to thank Mr. Miller for his service and friendship as well.
Support for the resolution was quick and unanimous.
Matt Smith accompanied Chairman Stroud and Interim President Ryan Garrison when the pair presented Miller with a copy of the resolution early one morning as Miller, his son and several employees were having breakfast before the Miller Engineering crew started another workday.
Stroud thanked Miller for “…everything you’ve done for us, at the college and throughout the county.” He reminded Miller of work he had done behind-the-scenes at Lake Tahoma years ago, for example, and said, “There’s just been so many things, but we thank you for all of them.”